Chichester’s Fire Station manager has asked the public to be vigilant after a spate of deliberate fires around the city centre on Saturday night.
Police are investigating a string of four incidents, one of which caused ‘extensive’ damage to a shoe shop in North Street.
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West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service is warning such incidents can lead to larger, potentially life-threatening blazes and also take vital resources away from other incidents.
The incidents were:
– A fire started at an old property on a building site in Lavant Road at 6.45pm
– A fire that broke out in a skip behind the Hole in the Wall pub in St Martin’s Street at 9.26pm
– A bin set on fire outside the La Havana Bar in Little London at 9.39pm
– A pile of rubbish deliberately set on fire outside the rear door of Hotter Shoes in North Street, at 10.15pm, which spread to the shop and caused extensive damage
Police have confirmed today that no other incidents are being linked at this time.
Pete Sadler, Chichester Fire Station Manager, said: “We are concerned by the number of suspected arson incidents we have experienced in Chichester and urge those responsible to stop.
“Fires started deliberately can be particularly dangerous because they generally develop much faster.
“Fires started in bins can spread to properties or vehicles near-by and put people’s lives, homes and businesses at risk.”
The fire service works closely with the police and always seeks to prosecute those people who have started fires deliberately.
West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service is also asking shops’ management teams and members of the public to be vigilant.
Measures to reduce the chances of arson occurring include keeping bins and waste in a secure place and only putting them out on the day of collection if possible, avoiding placing bins adjacent to buildings or vehicles and taking items to charity shops when the shop is open to reduce the risk during the night.
In the event of a fire call West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service on 999.
Anyone with information regarding the fires in Chichester can contact Sussex Police online at https://www.sussex.police.uk/contact/af/contact-us/ or ring 101 quoting 1218 of the 06/04.
Alternatively call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.